Thursday, June 25, 2015

We're Going on a Bear Hunt; reimagined...

Ok, goes nothing.

I've made it clear here before that I have aspirations of being an author.  I have also made it clear that finding the time to write for myself is really hard to do.  So, I've been trying to find outlets to, well, continue to be creative outside of merely judging other people's work.  With my growing affection for cinema, I started to think about writing in terms of cinematic art and with my daughter's growing interest in being an actress (she's quite the entertainer) I thought about how neat it would be to make a film with her.

So, last year I decided to write a screenplay.  

I've mentioned this before, but one of my favorite movie experiences was seeing Where the Wild Things Are with my daughter in the theater.  It's such a beautiful film and such a stunning adaptation of a very deeply provoking children's book.  Another children's book that I adore is We're Going on a Bear Hunt, and so I decided to attempt to adapt it into a film.  My approach to this was far more lyrical in scope, think Terrence Malick, but with the focus on the role of the father more than anything else, since, well, I feel like a broken record talking so much lately about being a daddy, but it's my life so I might as well embrace it.

We have plans to attempt (I say this in all sincerity, but watch this never happen) to actually film this next year, when my son is old enough to participate and when I have the funds to purchase a proper camera (maybe I should try Kickstarter) but in the meantime, I thought I'd put this out to my readers for any feedback.  I'm all about constructive criticism, so lay it on me.  I'd love to hear your interpretations of the story and where you think the truth lies in all the scenes.  I don't want to influence your take on the story, so I'll refrain from saying any more.

I didn't write this in strict screenplay form, as I always find that tiresome to read.  I also want to note that a lot of the scenes are left a little open as far as the structure of the scene because I plan of shooting a LOT of footage and editing them into almost a collection of montages.  The feel of the film, for me, is a very 'home movie' type feel and so I want to leave the scenes open to improvisations and not so 'script bound'.  I've also included videos of all the musical selections so that you can play the selected music during the scenes intended.  

I hope you enjoy!

~Robyn’s Jag Vet En Dejlig Rosa plays softly over the following scene~

It is early morning.  Light is creeping through the blinds, flooding the room as we see the father, sprawled out across his bed.  The room is otherwise empty, the walls barren and dark.

The house is quiet, and we see that the man's children are also sleeping, tucked away in their beds.  His eldest daughter, age eight, is sleeping in a room fit for a princess, soft pinks and purples delicately decorating her room.  His youngest daughter, five years old, sleeps in her room, which is loud by comparison.  The walls are bright, sharp, and her room is a disaster, with toys littering the floor.

As we come back to the father, asleep in his bed, we see that the room is very different.  Where there were once empty walls, there are now pictures of a happy family, or at least a family wearing happy faces.  His floor is cluttered with toys, and in his bed, nestled up to his body, is a little boy, age two.  His little fingers curl beside his father's face as he begins to awaken.

~screen goes black~

The eldest daughter whispers, “Dad…dad…wake up…”

We see the eldest daughter standing next to her father’s bed, her lips pressed to his ear, as she whispers to him, “we’re going on a bear hunt”.

The three children are jumping on the bed yelling and chanting “we’re going on a bear hunt”, giggling and laughing and falling on their father, who is trying to pretend to be asleep.  The father suddenly leaps out of the covers.  He’s shirtless and wearing boxer shorts with bears on them.  He is growling and attacking his children, kissing them on the neck and biting at their legs.  The kids are falling off the bed and the father keeps pulling them back up until they are all exhausted and sprawled out all over the bed, tangled in each other.

~screen goes black~

‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ slowly appears on the screen, one letter at a time, before fading away in reverse order.

The sun drenches the backyard as the children play.  The kids are all dressed in bear costumes.  They are growling and wrestling and chasing one another, their bare feet stomping through the freshly cut grass.  The father sits in a lawn chair, coffee in his hands.  He is still in his boxers and is wearing sunglasses and his youngest daughter’s bear ears atop his head.  His coffee mug is in the shape of a bear snout.

The mother is inside the house, peering out through the window, her shadow looming over the scene.

~screen goes black~

The eldest daughter whispers, “Dad…dad…wake up…”

We see the father, asleep in the lawn chair, his head rolled back.  The eldest daughter is standing at his side, and she whispers in his ear, “Uh oh, grass…tall, wavy grass”.

~screen goes black~

~Active Child’s Wilderness plays softly over the following scene~

Fantasy Sequence – the color is heightened, crisper; looking manufactured and almost digitally created.  This particular scene is shot through a yellowish lens, embellishing the sunbeams, drenching the sky and the tall grass.

The father and his three children are trailing through an open field.  The grass is so tall that the son is barely visible, his tuff of hair level with the tips of the grass.  The two girls are constantly running ahead, laughing and spinning and falling and jumping.  The father hoists his son onto his shoulders as he walks forward.  The four find a spot to lie down and relax, and the father points out shapes in the clouds.  The children scream in excitement as the father chases them on all fours, the grass bending and crunching under his weight. 

The music fades as the four reach the end of the field and enter the woods.

~screen goes black~

The father and mother are lying cheek to cheek on a picnic blanket, their bodies jutting towards separate ends of the blanket.  They appear younger than when we first saw them.  They look calm, yet neither one looks entirely comfortable.  The father’s fingers crawl across the mother’s skin, up her arm and into the palm of her hand.

The father speaks softly…“It can’t be like when we were kids…foolish…stupid”.

The mother is lying on her stomach and she tries to kiss the father’s face, but he keeps moving his head to avoid her lips.  They change positions, the father lying across the mother’s stomach.  His ear is pressed to her stomach, as if he were listening to something, indicating that she may be pregnant.  He see him slowly trace her bellybutton with his finger.

The mother speaks, her tone showing slight irritation…“You’re right”.

The father sits up, his back to the mother, his head resting in his hands.  The mother drapes her arms around him, her hands slipping beneath his shirt.  She lays her head on his shoulder.

The scene shifts and it is suddenly night.  The father is alone on the picnic blanket.  He’s older now, his features rougher, his face covered in stubble.  The father is clearly asleep.

~screen goes black~

We hear the eldest daughter whisper, “Dad…dad…wake up…”

We see the father lying in the darkness, but now the eldest daughter is by his side.  She is curled in the fetal position, her body jutting out towards the opposite end of the blanket, her mouth pressed to her father’s ear.

She whispers, “Uh oh, a forest…a big, dark forest…”

~screen goes black~

~Purity Ring’s Lofticries plays softly over the following scene~

Fantasy Sequence – This scene is shot through a slightly darker lens, projecting an almost burnt orange tinge to the sky and enveloping tree branches. 

The scene opens with the eldest daughter climbing a tree, the sun beaming downward, her bare feet scratching against the trunk, debris rubbing off and falling across the forest floor.  The two youngest children and their father play hide and seek, crouching behind trees and hiding under leaves and behind rocks.  The eldest daughter hangs from a tree branch, swinging and laughing as her shirt slowly falls over her face.

The father finds a tree and climbs, his children cheering him on.  He extends himself out onto a branch and begins to throw bark down at them.  His son starts gnawing on the bark and his daughters begin tossing it back at him.

We see them all proceeding forward, the children running zig-zags through the trees, crossing each other’s paths while the father walks a straight line between them.  The children continue to brush past him and the father grabs his son and hoists him onto his shoulders.  The music fades as they slowly disappear into the distance, the trees creating the appearance of a tunnel and they are enveloped by the light at the end of it.

~screen goes black~

It is afternoon, and the house is bright.  The father appears to be asleep on the couch in the living room, his son playing at his feet, grabbing toys and roaring at them.  The girls are finger painting at the kitchen table and the mother is standing in the kitchen, staring daggers into the back of the father’s head.  The television is on, cartoons blaring, filling the room with sounds of explosions and laughter and animal noises.  The girls are giggling as they paint, their bodies swallowed in their father’s white undershirts.  They smear colors together, creating a murky, muddy picture.

The wife speaks with harshness in her voice, “Are you even listening to me?”

She is tapping her fingers against the kitchen island, her nails chipped and uneven, a faded red polish covers them.

Her mouth takes over the frame, “If you won’t do it, I will”.

The scene shifts and the room is now dark.  It is clearly late in the evening.  We see that the husband is unscrewing the cap off of a bottle of whiskey.  The television is still on, this time some random action film is playing, filling the room with sounds of explosions and cars and yelling.  The father sits alone on the couch, taking swigs from the bottle.

~screen goes black~

We hear the eldest daughter whisper, “Dad…dad…wake up…”

We see her pressed up against him on the couch, her lips to his ear as she whispers, “Uh oh, mud…thick, oozy mud…”

~screen goes black~

~Lorde’s Glory and Gore plays softly over the following scene~

Fantasy Sequence – This scene is shot through a reddish lens, the mud and stone darkened and almost illuminated in shadow.

The children and their father are trapesing through a ravine.  They are barefoot, the mud squishing in their toes.  They have mud on their faces, giving the appearance of war paint, and the group wears faces of playful aggravation.  They wrestle, shove, run and roll through the mud, their bodies slowly becoming painted, covered, by the mud.  The kids dance in a line, waving their arms and hands and shaking their hips in unison.  They climb atop their father, who is on all fours, and cheer as he carries them on his back.  They remain on his back as he crawls over the camera, his body covering the screen as the music fades and the…

~screen goes black~

The scene opens under the water, where we see floating bodies of children and then the eldest daughter comes crashing through the surface, bubbles flooding our view.  The pool is filled with children, six to be exact.  Little ones in floaties and the eldest daughter swimming freely.  At the back of the pool, the father rests with his elbows on the edge of the pool, his best friend standing beside him.  They oversee the children splashing around.

The father turns to his friend and says, “It’s complicated”.
The friend responds, rather immediately, “Isn’t everything?”

The father laughs out of his nose and his friend suddenly shoves him under the water.  The two wrestle while the children laugh and cheer “dad” over and over, each child rooting for their own father to come up the victor. 

After the fight (which we never see actually end), the father rests at the edge of the pool, his stare fixated on the empty field in the distance.  The father slowly slips beneath the surface of the water, disappearing from the screen.

The scene shifts and it is nighttime, the father alone in the pool, floating on his back.

~screen goes black~

We hear the eldest daughter whisper, “Dad….dad…wake up…”

We see her face, barely out of the water, as she floats next to her father.  She whispers into his ear, “Uh oh, a river…a dark, cold river…”

~screen goes black~

~Ellie Goulding’s Atlantis plays softly over the following scene~

Fantasy Sequence – This scene plays through a pale blue filter, allowing the water to become the primary focus of the shot.

Sun soaks the river as it winds for miles until we reach the father and his children standing at a break in the forest, right at the water’s edge.  The father’s jeans are rolled up to his knees, his shirt off and draped over his shoulder.  He strips down to his boxers and wades into the water, up to his waist, his fingers teasing the surface of the water, as his children stare at him intently.

The eldest daughter strips down to her undershirt and panties and leaps into the water.  She swims around her father, the two practically dancing in the water, as the youngest children look on with curiosity.  They want to get in, but they are hesitant.

We see that the father has picked up his kids, one on each shoulder, and is carrying them across the water.  They cling to his face, excitement plastered across their faces.  The two youngest children kiss their father’s face as we see them reach the other side, the music fading as they disappear into the forest.

~screen goes black~

We see the father, barreling up the stairs in his home.  He is on all fours and he’s growling and as he reaches the top of the stairs his nose touches the nose of his eldest daughter and he stops.  Their eyes meet and she looks almost frightened and he looks nervous.

She whispers to him, “We’re gonna catch a big one”.

A sinking feeling enters the father as he realizes that he is, in figurative respects, a bear.

~screen goes black~

We see the children cramming into the backseat of the car as the mother is pushing them in.  She clearly panicked.  She slams the door, closing the children in.  She immediately turns her back to them and we see her outside of the car, her body pressed against the door.  The father is standing in front of her and he looks furious.  He’s shaking and moving his hands and pacing and looks extremely flustered and then he raises his fist at her and lunges towards her, his fist hitting the side of the car as his body pushes up against the mother.  She’s screaming and hitting him and he’s punching the car before he raises both hands and backs up away from her.

He yells, “You can’t have my kids!”

The mother opens the driver’s side door in haste and slides herself inside.  She slams the door and says nothing, just starts backing out of the driveway.

The father yells after her, “You can’t have my kids!”

The car backs out of the driveway and disappears, leaving the father alone, staring ahead at nothing.

~screen goes black~

We hear the father talking, apparently on the phone, since we only hear one end of the conversation.  He sounds groggy, as if he just woke up.

“Hello…no… when?… nothing right now…sure, whenever…I have no idea…bye.”

The father is sitting on the couch in his boxers, his head in his palms, his elbows on his knees, his phone at his side.

~screen goes black~

The father is parked outside of a building we don’t see, and suddenly the backdoors of the car open and his kids pile in.  They are dressed in shorts and tee shirts.  They get in their seats and buckle quickly.  The father puts the car in gear and starts to drive off.

The eldest daughter says, “Mom wants us back for dinner”.

The father looks irritated.  He shakes his head and says nothing.

When they arrive at the park, it is empty.  The kids run to play, while the father sits back on the bench and watches.  The sun pours in over the park, capturing every move the children are making.  The eldest daughter beckons her father from atop a play tower.  She pleads for him to come save her.  The youngest daughter joins in the chorus.  The father stares at them, a small smirk starting to form on his face.  His son waddles over to him and grabs his hand and begins to tug on it, attempting to pull him off the bench and to his feet.

Later that evening, alone in his house, the father wanders the dark-lit rooms with a glass of whiskey and a look of remorse.  He runs his fingers along the edges of his children’s furniture.  He picks up their favorite toys and holds them close.  He sprawls himself across his bed, his drink resting on his chest, and he stares at the ceiling, his expression completely dead.

The father holds the telephone close to his ear, his eyes closed, lips still wet from the whiskey.

He slowly says, “Were we always like this?”

He’s silent a few moments before he says, “That’s what I thought”.

~screen goes black~

~Ed Sheeran’s Photographs plays softly over the following scene~

Fantasy Sequence? – The entire next scene (collection of scenes) is shot through a grainy filtered lens to give the illusion of home video footage.  The scattered happy shots intermingled with the obvious unhappy ones are there to depict a blurred sense of fantasy/reality.

We see skin.  The father and mother are in each other’s arms, in bed, kissing, rolling, holding, touching.  The father is sweating.  His lips are on the mother’s forehead.  Her hands are pressed against the small of his back.  She’s alone.  His side of the bed is empty and she’s lying on her back staring at the ceiling.  She’s still lying alone in the bed, but now it is night.  She hasn’t moved positions.  The father comes in the room and climbs into bed.  They don’t acknowledge one another.

The mother is holding her infant daughter in her arms.  They are in the hospital and the room is low lit.

The father is walking the baby in circles in the living room.  The lights are out and it is clearly late in the evening.  His hands are on the back of her head, as she cries into the nook of his shoulder.

The mother is holding her daughter’s hands as she tries to walk towards her father, who is behind the camera.  The daughter is about a year old.  She’s drooling in laughter and the mother is cheering her on.

The father is asleep in his bed, cuddled up with his daughter.  She has her hands on his cheeks.  Their noses are touching.

The father and mother are having an argument.  The mother is sitting on their bed and she is crying.  The father is pacing, clearly agitated and he starts yelling.  The mother places her hands on her ears and looks less frightened and more overwhelmed.  The father leaves the room, slamming the door behind him.  The mother just sits there, her hands still over her ears.

The eldest daughter is playing on the floor with her newborn sister.  She keeps kissing her. 

The father and his eldest daughter are dressed as superheroes and we see them chasing each other through the house.  The father jumps up on the couch and dives off onto the floor next to his daughter, who laughs and falls onto his back, playfully punching him.

The mother is lying in her large bathtub with the youngest daughter, who is now around two.  The mother is under the water, except for her pregnant belly, which is breaking the surface.  Her daughter is kissing and rubbing her belly.

The father is standing in the doorway, his keys in hand.  The mother is crying on the stairs, facing her husband.  She’s very pregnant.  His hand is on the doorknob, with his back pressed against the door, and he’s trying to talk to her but she’s not listening.  His mannerisms are calm, but her face reads of irrational overreaction.  He raises his hands in defeat, his keys falling to the floor, and he walks past her, up the stairs, disappearing from view.

The son, an infant, screams in his crib.

The father and mother are having a heated disagreement.  She’s shoving him and yelling in his face and his face is red with anger.  The camera is in their faces and we can’t see where they are until the husband finally snaps and shoves her, the camera panning back as her body slams into their bedroom wall.

The father is driving his three kids in the car.  They are playfully screaming and his face is reading of irritation as he continually closes his eyes and bites his lips.

The father kisses his children on their foreheads while they are snug in their beds.  They are already sleeping. 

We see skin.  The father and mother are kissing, rolling, holding, touching.  The father’s hands are gripping the mother’s wrists and he’s trying to kiss her mouth but she keeps moving her head away from him.  She looks uncomfortable.  He digs the top of his head into her chest before rolling off of her and turning his back to her.  He’s facing the camera and he looks defeated in mental exhaustion.  The mother is out of focus, lying on her back beside him, staring at the ceiling.

~screen goes black~

The screen is flooded with white as a snowball collides and then flutters away.  The father and his three children are playing in an open field.  It is snowing and they are bundled in snow gear.  The children are laughing as they gather snow and toss loosely molded balls at their father, who is exerting himself extra hard for comic relief as he darts around his kids, jumping and spinning and diving into the powdery snow. 

The four lie on their backs and make snow angels, the kids rapidly moving their legs and laughing hysterically at their efforts.

The father crawls through the snow towards his children, who are screaming and laughing and he grabs them and they start rolling around in the snow.  Soon, their bodies are tangled into one another, and they’re all panting and out of breath.

The eldest daughter kisses her father on the forehead.  She leans over his face and crinkles her nose and him and he crinkles his nose at her and she says, “I want to come home”.

The father tries to smile at her, but he can’t, his cheeks hurt too much, and so he just sighs and says, “I wish you could”.

The father’s face is buried in the snow, his eyes barely breaking the surface.  He’s tired, but it becomes apparent that it is night now and he is alone.  He rolls over onto his back and we see that he is in his boxer shorts and nothing more. 

~screen goes black~

We hear the eldest daughter whisper, “Dad…dad…wake up…”

We see the father open his eyes.  He’s blinking rapidly.  As the camera pulls back, we see that he’s still alone in the snow.

We can hear the daughter’s voice whispering into the air, “Uh oh, a snowstorm…a swirling, whirling snowstorm…”

~screen goes black~

~Grimes’ Visiting Statue plays softly over the following scene~

Fantasy Sequence – The scene is shot through a blinding white lens, washing most everything out and leaving a lot of empty space and lack of textural details.

The father is alone, fighting against what appears to be a blizzard.  He is being beating back by the swirly wind and snow.  The progress he is making in his trek forward, towards the unknown, is minimal.  For every one step forward it feels as though he is taking two steps backward.  The ground is covered in snow, but as the camera focuses we can see that the father is walking in step with what appear to be tracts in the snow.  As he walks forward, rather haphazardly, his feet are stepping right into footprints, leading forward into white space.  It is clear that he isn’t intentionally following these steps at all, but that he is doing so rather instinctively.  We soon see a dark figure looming in the distance.  As the music fades, we see that the father is standing face to face with a Grizzly Bear.  In silence, the bear comes closer, until his nose is touching the father’s.  Their eyes meet and the father raises his hand and places it on the bear’s head.

We hear the eldest daughter’s voice, in a whisper, sing to her father.  There is no music, just her words sung in a poem like melody.

“Don’t you cry…no don’t be sad…it was the most fun we’d ever had…and if it ends I won’t be mad…at least we’ve had this time. 

“It may have been rough…growing up is always tough…I’ve seen the softer side enough to focus on the light. 

“So dry your eyes my father dear…and don’t you shed another tear…you were never the bear we feared…only in your mind. 

“We’ve loved you all this time.”

~screen goes black~

The father and his three children are lying on their backs in the grass, staring up at the sky.  Their heads meet together at the crown, their bodies creating a cross.  They look calm, peaceful and happy.

The eldest daughter says, “Can you tell us a story?”

The camera stays on their faces the whole time as the father speaks.

“Once upon a time, in a faraway land tucked deep in the woods, lived a princess.”

The two girls are clearly excited by the word princess, for they both smile wide and bring their shoulders up to their cheeks in excitement.

“That princess lived all day, every day, in the castle.  She was forbidden to leave.  Her parents warned her of the outside world, of the dangers of people who would take advantage of her for her beauty and her wealth.  She was warned that leaving the castle could mean her doom.”

The girls look almost irritated at this aspect of the story, but the son wears a sly smile, as if he is anticipating something terrible happening to the princess.

“All of these warnings meant nothing to the princess, for her heart said that everything she could have ever dreamed of was waiting for her outside of those castle walls.  One day, while her parents were busy tending to royal things, she fled.  She climbed out her window and disappeared into the woods.  While she was in the woods she came across a handsome young man, sleeping by a stream.  Remembering what her parents told her, of people taking advantage of her because of her beauty and wealth, she tore her dress and covered herself in mud from the stream and then approached the young man.  As she got closer, she saw the he too was covered in mud and his clothes were also torn.  When she nudged him, he woke and gave her a smile, but it was a tight smile, with lips pressed tightly together.

“‘Where are you from?’, he asks.

“Afraid to tell him the truth, she grabs her head and says, ‘I’ve fallen and hit my head and I can’t remember who I am or where I’m from’.

“The young man stands and takes the princesses hand and leads her through the woods.  He shows her all sorts of beautiful things, things she’d never imagined, things she didn’t even know existed.  Soon, the two fell in love and were married and the young man took the princess to his home.  The princess was shocked to see that the young man lived in a cave.  When the princess bathed in the stream, the young man was shocked to see her beautiful face.  When they ate their dinner, the princess was shocked to see the young man’s large, sharp teeth.  When they went to bed, the young man was shocked to see the princesses beautiful nightgown.

“In the morning, the princess had lost all appearance of a lost girl and was a stunning princess.  The young man no longer looked like a young man, but was a ravenous beast, a bear.  He had claws and sharp teeth and his body was covered in hair.  The princess was frightened.  She screamed.  The bear looked at her and saw a beautiful princess and he was confused.  This was not the person he had fallen in love with.  This was not the person he had married.

“‘Who are you?’, he roared.

“‘I am the princess’, she replied, ‘Who are you?’

“‘I am the king of the forest!’

“The princess was reminded of all the warnings her parents had given her.  She was convinced that this bear had deceived her in order to take advantage of her.  The bear was also convinced that the princess meant to do him harm, feeling that she had deceived him in order to take him captive and become ruler of the forest.  The bear growled at the princess and told her to leave and never return or he would eat her.  The princess screamed and said that she would send her knights to slay the bear and that she would have his head on her wall.”

The eldest daughter asks, “But don’t they love one another?”

The father responded, “They don’t really know one another.”

The eldest daughter asks, “But why did the bear pretend to be a human?”

The father is silent for a moment before he says, “He was lonely.  He lived alone and everyone was afraid of him and he knew that no one could truly love a bear, and so he hid his identity, hoping that he could convince someone to love him.”

The eldest daughter asks, “Does the princess leave?”

The father answers, “Yes.”

The eldest daughter asks, “Does she come back?”

The father whispers, “I don’t know.”

~screen goes black~

~V.V. Brown’s Ghosts plays softly over the following scene~

Fantasy Sequence? – Again, this sequence is a blur between fantasy and reality.  We see the father running through each of the areas he had previously visited with his children, but these scenes are spliced together with scenes of the father running on what appears to be a street in a neighborhood.  We see the father running through the blizzard, his hands covering his face as he presses forward.  We see the father swimming across the river.  We see the father sprinting through the forest.  We see the father running through the mud.  We see the father running through the open field, the sun eventually encompassing the scene before we see the father running through a neighborhood we don’t recognize and up to a door we’ve never seen before he collapses onto his knees and raises his arm, slamming his palm against the door.  He’s in tears.  He’s shaking.  The door opens and we see a figure standing in front of the father but the face is off the screen.

~screen goes black~ 

We hear the eldest daughter whisper, "We're not going on a bear hunt again."


  1. Wow, when you said you had a plan for this film you weren't kidding. I knew I couldn't be the only blogger around here who had experience as a screenwriter.

    1. John! I was going to send you this link on Twitter for your input, since you're so passionate about your screenwriting. I'd love any and all input you could give me!

  2. Wow, I love how evocative your writing is Drew! The descriptions of each scene is so vivid, I could almost picture myself in the woods! I've never seen Where The Wild Things Are but now you made me want to. This is wonderful and I can tell that being a dad yourself that this is very personal for you, I love that. Props on finding songs that would work for each scene too, well done! So may I ask what are you going to do w/ this? Please keep me posted on this, and thanks for tweeting me about it.

    P.S. I'm also working on my 'narrative endeavor', that's what I'm calling it right now as I'm debating whether I should turn it into a novel or a script. Have been leaning towards the latter and I think you'd have swayed me towards that even more. So far I've only finished writing all the acts/chapters and picked the actors, I think you'd like my pick for the lead actress ;)

    1. So, the plan is to film this cheaply with the kids over the course of a year (because of the winter/summer scenes), starting this winter. It really depends on when and how much snow we get, since this area gets about a week of snow a year. So, we'll be shooting this in pieces. I have a really cool editor on my computer, so I think I can use that to splice this thing together. My biggest concern is the scene with the bear, which for me is so important and yet is going to be REALLY hard to get. A friend of mine says he has a few ideas with how to make it work, so I'm trusting him it out.

      I'll be sure to keep everyone updated as I get to shooting and I'll post any clips and stills I can as it gets going. It'll probably start shooting sometime around January.

      And I love that you're working on your narrative endeavor, and I can't wait to hear more about what you're going to do with it!

    2. Hey if you need lots of snow, you can always film it in MN where I live, we have plenty of them :D Best of luck on getting it to film, sounds so exciting!

      I think at this point my goal is just to actually FINISH my script/novel, as I sort of abandoned the first one I started about 7 yrs ago.

      Btw, hope you hv time to check out the last two posts on FC, it's a topic that's dear to my heart.

    3. Yeah, finishing is always a huge accomplishment in itself, so I hope you get there!

      And I'll be sure to check them out.

  3. I didn't read it all but from what I read this sounds good. I've never seen Where The Wild Things Are but if it's anything like this I think I would really enjoy it (though I hate Terrence Malick). I love the music choices, it really sounds good. I like the idea of Fantasy Sequence, it makes the movie more unique. This doesn't sound like my type of movie ('cause my type is like of fun from The Wolf of Wall Street or the bloodbath from Dead Alive), but it doesn't necessary need to be, I'm able to enjoy films that are more easy like this sounds. Be sure I'll donate if it will be the case.
    I'm myself into screenwriting. Although I never wrote a full script (I'm working on that) I wrote a few short stories some of which I made into short movies. I hope you'll have success with your idea. Tell me if I can help you in anyway.

    1. I think the Malick comment was more because this has, as you can see, minimal dialog. There are literally, outside of the story he tells his kids, like two sentences per sequence, and the fantasy scenes, which take up half the film, are played completely to song and contain no dialog. It's a picture story, in a way.

      And thank you so much for the support here! I would love to read some of your work or see some of your short movies. You should post them up on your blog.

  4. This is beautiful -- I like the word Ruth chose: "evocative." I love the balance of gorgeous imagery, color, action, and dialogue.

    Based on one reading, I have no idea whether I "get" what you're going for here. But I found it quite moving,. I got a sense of all the love and wonder and passion of marriage and creating a family with another person coming up against the complicated realities of keeping a relationship afloat, struggling with personal demons, and facing the fundamental difficulty of truly knowing another person.

    I love the way the father's love for his children shines through in the imagery. It's quite compelling. I also like the seamless way the fantasy sequences are woven into it. The fairy tale theme definitely works too.

    So proud of you for sticking with your dream.

    Oh, and by all means, launch a Kickstarter! I'll make a modest contribution and do my part to help you pimp it out on the interwebs. :-)

    1. I love what you say in that second paragraph, since it's exactly where I was trying to go with this. I wanted to, in a practically wordless prose, portray a family, warts and all. I wanted to show a man who was battling with where he fit in his family. I wanted to show the love of his children, the apathy towards his situation, the conflict between his wife, the unclear 'fault' because in life and love there is always two sides, the guilt that comes from being your own worst enemy and the ultimate understanding that sometimes hard doesn't mean bad. And I wanted all of that to blur together!

      Like a fairy tale!

  5. Drew! This is so funny. I was just thinking the other day what an interesting thing it could be to adapt this story! Such a childhood classic of mine also.

    I like where you're going with this, the only thing I would say is I'm not sure about the song choices, mainly because of the popularity of artists such as Lorde, Grimes and Robyn. I feel like it would take away somewhat from the film as opposed to a consistent score. That's just my two cents though.
    - Andrew.

    1. Wow Andrew, great minds!

      The musical selections are certainly up for debate. I'm not completely locked into any of them, to be honest, despite loving them all. I'd love to put in original work or simply write a score that could capture the feeling I want to convey. I've actually been working with my daughter to write some music for the project (she helped me with the poem the daughter sings to her father), so maybe we'll do that instead!

  6. I remember in one of my drama classes in elementary school, we did this story as a project. It was a really lovely experience, because the actual book is so wonderful in its simplicity. You really managed to remain true to the source while putting your own spin on it. Love, love, love everything about it, especially the imagery.

    1. Thanks so much Aditya! I really wanted to capture the simplicity of the book, while inserting just enough backstory to flesh it out.

  7. So film bloggers CAN be filmmakers! I was worried that I was going to have to choose one from the other.

    1. But of course they can! Alex over at And So it Begins has his first feature film being released this year and he's already directed some shorts and music videos. You can do whatever you apply yourself to!

      I'd love to hear your thoughts on the script, Connor!

    2. I haven't read the book but I think your script is wonderful. It's so moving and I think that if done right, the film could be a huge success. I would love to support this project in any way that I could.

    3. Thanks Connor. I'll be sure to keep everyone updated as this gets rolling!

  8. What a wonderful idea Fisti! I think you need to make a short film out of this and become a youtube star. Yes, I'm serious.

    1. Yeah, I'm debating going to short film route, since I feel like the script as it stands is better suited to that (like a 60 minute film at most), but it'll all come down to how much footage we get to shoot over the year and how the eventual music lays out. If I go with pre-established songs, I'm all about maintaining their complete form, so the fantasy sequences would play out in that time ratio, but if I go with original music, whether song or score, then I'll be able to work that up myself and then have more control over the length of the film.

  9. I love this! It would probably give me the ugliest cry face though. Were you thinking full length feature with this? Or a short film? I really like the music choices. I'm not a Malik fan, but I see in the comments you were referring to less dialogue and that I can definitely get behind. I think this is beautiful. :)

    1. EEK! Thanks, Britt. Yeah, I wanted the imagery to speak for itself here and not have the dialog get in the way. I'm actually leaning towards short film. I mentioned that a bit in the comment above to Mariah. It just depends on how much footage I shoot and adore, and what I settle on with regards to the music.

    2. I forgot to say, I'm not familiar with that book. I'm going to have to look for that.

    3. Oh, it's such a great kid's book. When you read it, I'd love to hear how you think I did adapting it. I basically took the scenic structure of the book (it's about a father and his kids hunting a bear) and wove it into the fantasy scenes. All the dialog that the eldest daughter speaks is taken right from the book ("uh oh, a river...a dark, cold river" and the like).

      I can't wait for you to read it!

  10. I only skimmed because I don't want to know what will happen and such in case the film ever gets made. Still, I have to applaud you for writing a script. It's been 4 years since I wrote and completed one.

    1. Thanks Steven! I'd love to read some of your stuff someday.

  11. This is lovely, Drew. And it is certainly something I would want to see. I am the moron who hasn't seen Where the Wild Things Are, despite my love for Spike Jonze, Dave Eggers, the Sendak book itself, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener and on and on and on. I am putting it on my Netflix queue now.

    Having said that, I certainly see in this script something that Jonze would make. Maybe even something written by Kaufman. There is a nice shifting between the fantasy world and reality world that really gets into the mind of a husband and father. That is really something fresh you have here in that regard. This is a film I have not seen.

    My only piece of criticism (if I should even give any, considering I have not written or directed a film of my own) is that I wonder how you might offer a bit more flare with the camera during the story of the princess and the bear. You write that you have the camera in a static shot on the daughter's faces the whole time. What if you cut in some shots of the father's face and the mother's face in flashback (maybe even from what you shoot of the picnic scene), sort of mirroring the story being told? I don't know. Just what I saw as I read that scene.

    Truly, I love what you've done here, Drew. The music choices are all dreamy and interesting, providing the right shifts in tone. And I think giving each fantasy sequence its own distinct color palette is a nice touch. I can't wait to hear more about this as it develops. This inspires me to try something like this for myself someday soon. Thanks for asking for my input. Means a lot. Peace.

    1. Thanks so much Kevin for reading! I really can't wait to hear what you think of Where the Wild Things Are. It's one of my favorite films, ever.

      With regards to your suggestion, I'll explain my reasoning on the minimalist scene.

      1) This is the one scene in the film where nothing is skewed. There is no looming fantasy, no specific POV changing or manipulating the reality of the situation. In many ways, this is the one scene where every element is explained, even though it isn't directly, and so because of that I wanted to show it very raw and direct.

      2) It gives the film a place to calm down a bit. With all the different fantasy scenes and crazy edits I have planned, I wanted to scene that just...was there.

      3) And probably the biggest reason, I wanted this to be the ah-ha moment in the film, the scene where the 'ugly cry face' happened, and so my thought was, because I know it'll happen, is just to pretty much bawl while telling the story. I cry when I read it...I'll cry when I speak it...and so having that moment, where you're just staring into this father's soul as he basically tells his children that he messed up and he doesn't know how to make it better is just...hopefully...crushing.

      Hope that makes sense, but by all means, let me know what you think :-D

    2. It totally makes sense. The power you hope to achieve is there. Your method will let the audience's tears flow. I like that you want to make us cry. You know how I feel about crying at movies.

    3. You and me both, brutha!

  12. Oh, and it's not as recognized by name as Kickstarter, but I would recommend Go Fund Me. You don't have to meet a goal to bank money that is donated and you can pull money out any time.

    1. Thanks! I've heard of Go Fund Me, but never looked into it.

  13. That was fascinating read, well done! I'm not familiar with the source material but it really reminded me of Where the Wild Things Are, so good job! It does sound really complex and dark to me, though, but maybe that's just because it seems like such a universal story of things going wrong

    1. Yeah, it's really about how things can fray at all edges and how we can essentially be our own worst enemy. The father, in this case, is almost so convinced that he's unworthy of his family life that he drives everyone away...he's become apathetic to the point of detachment, and yet he has to eventually come to terms that he's getting in his own way, that he isn't that bear, and that he can fix things if he just tries.

  14. I don't know the book either, but your treatment is beautiful in and of itself. I hope we get to see this movie!

    1. Awww, thanks! I hope I can get it off the ground!

  15. Love the idea of the story! I'll email you my thoughts. :)

    1. EEK! I look forward to them, thanks!

    2. LOL, it was an excited eek!

  16. This looks/sounds beautiful man! It's so YOU, and that wonderful personal touch is all over these scenes. Hope you get a chance to get it made. Be sure to give me a heads up if you start a campaign for it somewhere online. :)

  17. Dude! I am the complete opposite of an expert but I really wanted to let you know my thoughts regardless. This is beautiful, and heartbreaking, and you have such a way with words that I could picture everything, crystal clear. If you do happen to start some kind of Kickstarter campaign or something similar, let me know! I'll do whatever I can to help :)
    - Allie

    1. Allie!!! Thank you so much for your kind words of support. I'm so determined to make this happen now. I'm glad I posted this. I was anxious to do so, but now that it's out there I feel even more compelled to make it happen!

  18. Rather late to party, sure, but this was a very interesting read. I'm not at all familiar with the story, but I devoured your treatment. The scene with the four of them laying in a cross being the standout for me. Soooo good, man. Really.

    As many times as I've written a screenplay, I never really felt comfortable with anything other than dialogue. I was infinitely captivated by the way you conveyed an entire story with essentially 100 spoken words. Excellent.

    Let me know how I can help, if the need ever arises.

    1. Thanks man!

      I think your kids would like this book, so look for it. It's a really moving little book that my kids adore.

      I appreciate the words man, it means a lot.